By Pierre M. Atlas, Indiana University
In the wake of the Buffalo and Uvalde mass shootings, 70% of Republicans said it is more important to protect gun rights than to control gun violence, while 92% of Democrats and 54% of independents expressed the opposite view. Just weeks after those mass shootings, Republicans and gun rights advocates hailed the Supreme Court ruling that invalidated New York state’s gun permit law and declared that the Second Amendment guarantees a right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense.
Mayor Eric Adams, expressing his opposition to the ruling, suggested that the court’s decision would turn New York City into the “Wild West.” Contrary to the imagery of the Wild West, however, many towns in the real Old West had restrictions on the carrying of guns that were, I would suggest, stricter than the one just invalidated by the Supreme Court.
Support for gun rights among Republicans played an important role in determining the contents of the the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the first new gun reform bill in three decades. President Joe Biden signed it into law just two days after the Supreme Court’s decision was released.
In order to attract Republican support, the new law does not include gun control proposals such as an assault weapons ban, universal background checks or raising the purchasing age to 21 for certain types of rifles. Nevertheless, the bill was denounced by other Republicans in Congress and was opposed by the National Rifle Association.
I have found that for those Americans who see the gun as both symbolizing and guaranteeing individual liberty, gun control laws are perceived as fundamentally un-American and a threat to their freedom. For the most ardent gun rights advocates, gun violence – as horrible as it is – is an acceptable price of that freedom.
My analysis finds that gun culture in the U.S. derives largely from its frontier past and the mythology of the “Wild West,” which romanticizes guns, outlaws, rugged individualism and the inevitability of gun violence. This culture ignores the fact that gun control was widespread and common in the Old West.
The prevalence of guns
Guns are part of a deep political divide in American society. The more guns a person owns, the more likely they are to oppose gun control legislation, and the more likely they are to vote for Republican candidates.
In 2020, 44% of American households reported owning at least one firearm. According to the 2018 international study Small Arms Survey, there were approximately 393 million firearms in civilian hands in the U.S., or 120.5 firearms per 100 people. That number is likely higher now, given increases in gun sales in 2019, 2020 and 2021.
Americans have owned guns since colonial times, but American gun culture really took off after the Civil War with the imagery, icons and tales – or mythology – of the lawless frontier and the Wild West. Frontier mythology, which celebrates and exaggerates the amount and significance of gunfights and vigilantism, began with 19th-century Western paintings, popular dime novels and traveling Wild West shows by Buffalo Bill Cody and others. It continues to this day with Western-themed shows on streaming networks such as “Yellowstone” and “Walker.”
A marketing move
Historian Pamela Haag attributes much of the country’s gun culture to that Western theme. Before the middle of the 19th century, she writes, guns were common in U.S. society, but were unremarkable tools used by a wide range of people in a growing nation.
But then gun manufacturers Colt and Winchester started marketing their firearms by appealing to customers’ sense of adventure and the romance of the frontier. In the mid-19th century, the gun manufacturers began advertising their guns as a way people all around the country could connect with the excitement of the West, with its Indian wars, cattle drives, cowboys and gold and silver boomtowns. Winchester’s slogan was “The Gun That Won the West,” but Haag argues that it was really “the West that won the gun.”
By 1878, this theme was so successful that Colt’s New York City distributor recommended the company market the .44-40 caliber version of its Model 1873 single-action revolver as the “Frontier Six Shooter” to appeal to the public’s growing fascination with the Wild West.
A different reality
Gun ownership was commonplace in the post-Civil War Old West, but actual gunfights were rare. One reason was that, contrary to the mythology, many frontier towns had strict gun laws, especially against carrying concealed weapons.
As UCLA constitutional law professor Adam Winkler puts it, “Guns were widespread on the frontier, but so was gun regulation. … Wild West lawmen took gun control seriously and frequently arrested people who violated their town’s gun control laws.”
“Gunsmoke,” the iconic TV show that ran from the 1950s through the 1970s, would have seen far fewer gunfights had its fictional marshal, Matt Dillon, enforced Dodge City’s real laws banning the carrying of any firearms within city limits.
The appeal of this mythology extends to the present day. In August 2021, a Colt Frontier Six Shooter became the world’s most expensive firearm when the auction house Bonhams sold “the gun that killed Billy the Kid” at auction for over $6 million. As a mere antique firearm, that revolver would be worth a few thousand dollars. Its astronomic selling price was due to its Wild West provenance.
The historical reality of the American frontier was more complex and nuanced than its popular mythology. But it’s the mythology that fuels American gun culture today, which rejects the types of laws that were commonplace in the Old West.
A particular view of safety and freedom
Hardcore gun owners, their lobbyists and many members of the Republican Party refuse to allow the thousands of annual gun deaths and the additional thousands of nonfatal shootings to be used as justifications for restricting their rights as law-abiding citizens.
They are willing to accept gun violence as an inevitable side effect of a free and armed but violent society.
Their opposition to new gun reforms as well as the current trends in gun rights legislation – such as permitless carry and the arming of teachers – are but the latest manifestations of American gun culture’s deep roots in frontier mythology.
Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the National Rifle Association, the country’s largest gun rights group, tapped into imagery from frontier mythology and American gun culture following the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012. In his call to arm school resource officers and teachers, LaPierre adopted language that could have come from a classic Western film: “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
This view of a lone, armed person who can stand up and save the day has persisted ever since, and provides an answer of its own to mass shootings: Guns are not the problem – they’re the solution.
Pierre M. Atlas, Senior Lecturer, Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
“Atlas: Today’s American Gun Culture is a Result of Mythologizing and Marketing the Old West”
What an odd and stupid concept.
Was the old west a result of “Mythologizing and Marketing the Old West”?
No. The old West “gun culture” was the result of a basic “need” for survival and that basic need remains today in the form of self defense and hunting needs. Our founders saw that need and saw no reason to deny it to future generations.
I like the article but the title irritates me.
Correction Errr… I don’t like the article… not i like the article.
Well Gun Control pilgrim don’t let your rug rats grow up to be cowboys…let ’em grow up to be worthless democRats. Speaking of “Cowboys” check out a very good movie titled The Cowboys with John Wayne.
Don’t worry they’ll probably abort them so they’ll never get a chance to grow up.
People who think they can control guns to deal with violent crime are no more well informed than people who think they can stop people dying from jumping off bridges by banning parachutes. Sure, there is probably someone, somewhere, who died because they jumped of a bridge and the parachute they were wearing failed but, that is not what most parachutes are used for and that is not why most people who jump from a bridge die. I constantly hear people saying that limiting the availability of guns will limit crimes committed with guns. How? There are *hundreds of millions* of guns in this country and *tens of thousands* of deaths from gunshot wounds. Their problem is, apparently, understanding the concept of “order of magnitude”.
Sure, if you ban parachutes you will probably stop that one guy from taking up BASE jumping but you will do nothing at all to stop the myriad people who jump off the bridge without a parachute on purpose.
Dear Mr. Atlas –
You very obviously did NOT speak to actual “conservatives” or “Republicans” or gun owners or gun supporters of any stripe.
You have outed yourself as just another “intellectual” who takes an idea and runs with it despite (or in spite of?) nearly complete lack of facts or evidence.
You may “paint” whatever picture you like, or your backers like, but reality it most certainly does not make.
Sincerely, A Gun Owner
America’s “gun culture” is more than 200 years older than the “old west”.
Well written article but it failed to mention that if you carry a gun and engage in a shootout with a robber you are way more likely to die than if you had not resisted. The stats prove it beyond all doubt contrary to the Far Right tight wad, stingy, penny pinching fanatics who put money above even their own lives.
While victims actively resisted in only 7 percent of the robberies studied, those incidents accounted for 51 percent of the deaths.
Here is another very lengthy in depth study (not the Harvard).
‘…if you carry a gun and engage in a shootout with a robber you are way more likely to die than if you had not resisted.’
You almost got it right, if a robber tries to rob someone carrying a gun he is way more likely to die in a gunfight than if he robbed someone who wasn’t carrying a gun. First rule of gunfight is have a gun. Even if you had a point, there are many times as many victims as robbers. If everyone started carrying a gun today, even if the robber was 10 times more likely to win the gunfight, the last robber left alive would be dropped dead within a month.
BTW, kudos for using sources so trusted by conservatives as the NY Times, Chicago Tribune and Harvard.
The funniest part is that the Chicago article is from 1984…..
Damn, you beat me to it…LOL
Well folks, fake news is not new. LOL
darcydodo…your sources are as worthless as your backdoor attempts to make your sneaky Gun Control rot look credible. Now you run along with your dribble and handle dirtbags your way and I’ll handle dirtbags my way.
dacian the stupid,
By all means, follow the “logic” of you bogus studies, and do not UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, carry a gun . . . you’re far too stupid to know how to use one properly, anyway. But if it’s all the same to you, I’ll just continue to insist on, and exercise, my INHERENT right to self-defense, and to use a firearm in aid thereof. Just as I will use my precision rifle to pursue my hobby of long-range shooting. And my sporterized 6.5 Swedish Mauser for hunting. And, yes, even a couple of guns (including some AR platforms) that, if necessary, I will use to oppose state tyranny, whether from foreign governments or even, God forbid, my own.
And if you don’t like any of that?? Feel free to fuck right the hell off.
Duncian, I don’t believe what you said, but even if it’s true. I’ll die shooting back.
You would rather die on your knees than on your feet?
Atlas is one more testosterone deficit university prog. Knows jack.
I’m tired of “intellectuals” who regard ordinary, everyday people like we’re a bacillus in a Petri dish.
50 years of social and soft on crime pushed by these effete snobs have put us where we are today. You want to solve the violence problem? Arrest, charge, and incarcerate those who are perpetrating the violence. Penalizing and limiting the rights of the mass of law abiding people doesn’t solve the problem and results in a society that is less free.
Wow, let’s just ignore what the Founders thought and intended, based on their extremely well versed understanding of human history and the historical oppression of people by tyrannical regimes. Add to that the recognized need for self defense, dating back to Jolly Old England, and you’ve got the 2nd Amendment. From that “history and tradition,” to use the phrase of SCOTUS (“text, history, and tradition” being the full phrase) you can explain America’s “gun culture,” whatever that is.
A recent expression of our traditional values:
“Captain, deputy killed during violent standoff in Floyd County, Ky identified
Six others were injured and a K-9 killed during the attack Thursday evening in the Allen community
By Sarah Sager and Alyssa Hannahs
Published: Jun. 30, 2022 at 9:41 PM EDT|Updated: 8 hours ago
UPDATE: 3:00 p.m. 7/1/2022
FLOYD COUNTY, Ky. (WSAZ) – Captain Ralph Frasure with the Prestonsburg Police Department has been named by family as one of the officers shot and killed Thursday evening during a violent standoff situation.
According to Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt, two officers were killed during the attack and six others injured, including five additional officers and one emergency management director.
Friday afternoon the Prestonsburg Police Department posted on its Facebook page that the bodies of Captain Ralph Frasure and Deputy William Petry of the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department are returning from Frankfort toward Martin via Kentucky 114, US 23 and Kentucky 80.“
“An armed society is a polite society”
minor49IQ…Death and injury sometimes comes with the job, real men and women accept that when they sign on.
Do you know an Electrician has a much higher probability of dying on the job than a police officer dying on the job? Do you know unarmed defenseless children left in the care of pompous clowns like you have a 100% chance of being murdered by a criminally insane individual who will criminally misuse most any object they touch? Apparently you do not and that may be attributed to your head residing in your behind.
I immediately notice two things about your witless post, MajorStupidity:
1. You did not provide a link – what’s in the story you DON’T want us to see???
2. No description of the details of the “attack”, how it came to be, or whether and to what extent the officers were acting in the course and scope of their duty.
Curious, no??? Your half-assed attempt at snark is noted, with disdain. The only “traditional values” of anyone or anything would be if the two officers were ambushed by Antifa/BurnLootMurder thugs in the course of their duties – then it would be an excellent display of the “traditional values” of Antifa, BurnLootMurder, oh, and MajorStupidity and dacian the stupid, the thug-supporting Leftist/fascists who insist on inflicting their deranged Leftist idiocy on this blog. But at least we get to mock you, mercilessly. ‘Splain to me, ONE MORE TIME, MajorStupidity, how Article I, Section 8 ACTUALLY authorized universal federal gun control . . . you witless, historically ignorant ass.
“You did not provide a link – what’s in the story you DON’T want us to see???“
The link is below.
And word this morning is that this expression of American history and tradition has claimed another victim:
“We found out late Friday night that Prestonsburg Police Officer Jacob R. Chaffins has died from his injuries. He was a K-9 handler with the department. The city of Prestonsburg released that information on its Facebook page.
The deadly incident happened Thursday along Main Street near the intersection of Railroad Street, also killing a K-9 unit.
Capt. Ralph Frasure with the Prestonsburg Police Department and Deputy William Petry with the Floyd County Sheriff’s Department also died in the gunfire. The incident was reported around 6 p.m. Thursday and lasted hours until the suspect was taken into custody around 10 p.m. near the home.“
So, MinorIQ, thanks for the courtesy of actually providing a link. Doesn’t say ANYTHING that your initial post indicated. Apparently, an unhinged person (relative of yours, perhaps??) in the middle of a domestic/family dispute decided to use the situation to ambush some cops (attempting ‘suicide by cop’, perhaps???). Cops responding to a disturbance/hostage situation, so in the course and scope of their duties.
The ONLY place in the universe that that represents “American history and tradition” is in the deranged minds of Leftist/fascists such as yourself, and dacian the stupid.
Now, do Antifa/BurnLootMurder. Or maybe your people’s paramilitary arm, the KKK?? You are SUCH a transparent indoctrinated Leftist dimwit. If you despise America so much, MinorIQ?? Get the f*** out. You will NOT be missed. Oh, and learn the ACTUAL definition of the “argumentum ad hominem” logical fallacy – my insults and derogatory comments about you are actually the polar opposite of arumentum ad hominem. It is not my contention that your arguments are invalid because you are a Leftist/fascist idiot; rather, I’ve refuted your arguments (which are stupid and counter-factual), and then I point out that the arguments are so stupid, only a Leftist/fascist would adhere to them. So, your arguments are stupid prima facie (shall we talk Article I, Section 8, MinorIQ???), such that only a Leftist/fascist moron would even say such idiotic things with a straight face. Although I will admit you aren’t QUITE as stupid as dacian the stupid . . . you at least can sometimes construct something that resembles an English sentence.
Your snark-fu, however, is weak, grasshopper.
Miner, your only value is spewing horseshit, fuck off. You and I share a species and nothing else in common.
“You and I share a species and nothing else in common“
Given your chosen moniker of ‘ChoseDeath’, I suspect you may be correct.
Wait, . . . you’re dead??? Homo defuncti is your species???
Does that mean we will be spared your lies and pathetic attempts at wit, in the future?? Or do they have Internet connections in the theological place of eternal punishment???
This Atlas fruitcake must be lost in a time warp. Most young people have never seen a Western. TV ended its flirtation with Westerns a long time ago. Movies too, and when they do pop up from time to time, they don’t do a lot of business. None of them have a tendency to glamorize guns or the West.
But he’s right about this: “gun control laws are perceived as fundamentally un-American and a threat to their freedom.”
That’s because they are.
‘Most young people have never seen a Western.’
I believe you have identified the fundamental problem with the younger generation.
They’d rather play COD. But there’s no way that a weasel like Atlas would call out video games.
I’m old enough to remember when COD meant ‘collect on delivery’.
HOW was this idiocy ever published by TTAG? The wild west wasn’t the wild west…carved up quickly & taken over by cattle barons & political critters.
I sent TTAG an email stating that, by publishing opinion pieces like this one which are thinly veiled as “fact-based” articles, they are very seriously degrading their own credibility.
What “credibility” do they have left to degrade??
“…by publishing opinion pieces like this one which are thinly veiled as “fact-based” articles, they are very seriously degrading their own credibility.”
Hang on a sec here –
What TTAG did falls under the Rubicon of “Know your enemy”.
By publishing articles like that, we can begin to ‘crowd-source’ arguments disputing crap like that.
And TTAG *should* continue to publish articles like that, since the Leftist Scum ™ are in it for the long haul to disarm us.
“Tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.” (An actual fascist from 1940s era Germany…)
True, Dodge City did have an unconstitutional ban on the carrying of firearms within the city limits. However I guarantee you that every single cowboy that rode into town rode in armed. I do suspect that rifles were far more popular than pistols on the frontier as opposed to the Hollywood version.
I think the point he’s missing is that gun owners and Republicans don’t view ‘gun violence’ vs. gun rights as an either / or proposition. ‘Gun violence’ will persist with or without our 2nd Amendment rights being respected. We don’t view the violence as acceptable but inevitable and the government is powerless to stop it (see Mexico). We also believe the proponents of gun control aren’t even interested in ending violence, hence the calls to defund the police out of one side of their mouths while telling us we don’t need to be armed because the police will protect us out of the other side. Meanwhile they refuse to prosecute dangerous criminals and let the ones who are incarcerated free. Compromising on gun control is Faustian, a fools bargain. Unfortunately there are 15 Republican fools in the US Senate.
Gov. Petomane is correct when he said, ” the proponents of gun control aren’t even interested in ending violence”
and this is just one reason they hear the truth from POTG, but don’t internalize one thing.
It is impossible to argue an issue when one side refuses to recognize the issue!
No, they certainly are NOT interested in ending violence. If they were, they’d do things very, very differently. No, the violence and death serve their agenda – and their ideologies and agenda are all that really matter to them, certainly not humans. Note also, how it’s the LEFTISTS that are the ones COMMITTING the violence, like BLM, ANTIFA, etc.
That’s pretty stupid.
Tales of the “old west” are no different than tales of Orpheus or Hercules or Arthur.
This learned jackass never heard of the monomyth?
Besides, nobody under 50 watches Walker or Yellowstone. I guess he didn’t want to go full Boomer and blame the vidya.
That happened during those times in newspaper stories and books, then commercialized it to sell the hype. still doing it today.
Someone should show this to Baldwin.
Speaking of Alec Baldwin… He was never charged w/ anything, was he??? Money certainly talks, doesn’t it?
“He was never charged w/ anything, was he???”
Nope, looks like he’s gonna skate on criminal charges.
“Money certainly talks, doesn’t it?”
He won’t escape the massive civil penalties paid to her family. Cold consolation for them… 🙁
Sort of ironic. Alec Baldwin et al. were attempting to make a low budget film and as it seems it turned out to be quite expensive. The money now probably being spent following the shooting would have been better spent on production safety measures and perhaps saved a life.
Funny, I don’t think I’ve watched a total of 10 hours worth of TV in my entire life and I love guns. I think the only western movie I ever saw was that remake of a John Wayne movie where that girl lost her arm from a rattlesnake bite at the end.
True Grit. Phenomenal movie, phenomenal remake.
Yeah, baby. BUY MOAR GUNS!
“Yeah, baby. BUY MOAR GUNS“
May I suggest that you consider buying ‘moar’ grammar books.
The idiot left has yet to give up on the Wild West theme they always jump to. This, despite the fact that they have trotted it out and had it fall flat every time a state added licensed concealed carry and then trotted it back out for every state that added constitutional carry. You would think they could have found something new in the decades that states have been expanding options for citizens, but no it is the same old stupidity! Lord love a duck, we are coming up on the thirtieth anniversary of the last successful western (Tombstone 1993). My daughter has never seen a western at a movie theater even though she worked at one when she was in college. I thought leftists were supposed to be creative and sophisticated, so they keep telling those of us in fly-over country anyway.
Yes, they THINK they’re creative and sophisticated, and that We the Unwashed and Uneducated are unchanged and unchanging, but they continue to show how that’s exactly what THEY are – THEY are the ones whose minds and motives are stuck – stuck on ideas that do NOT work, do NOT solve anything, do NOT better mankind or society. The only thing they “better” is their own egos and pocketbooks, and those of their backers, the psycho New World Order Globalists.
Finally, admittance that we made the “Wild West” cooler than it actually was and the mindset of a true “patriot” that values everything free – which means violent and chaotic – is acceptable. You don’t get it both ways. Free or not. Choose one.
Also, as someone from Montana – FUCK YELLOWSTONE! (The show)
The Old West?
How about April 19th, 1775?
i don’t really want to show my age, but wasn’t that disnee show about a boone guy named daniel that started alot of the frontier wonderland?
“Gun ownership was commonplace in the post-Civil War Old West, but actual gunfights were rare. One reason was that, contrary to the mythology, many frontier towns had strict gun laws, especially against carrying concealed weapons.” Uh huh. May I offer a counter view? People were more well behaved because your actions had consequences, potentially immediate and deadly ones, because most everyone was armed and had a sense of community and/or self-preservation. And you just knew if you started some unsolicited nonsense, you may get both ass cheeks shot off. Now, you tell me how my version isn’t as plausible (and of course I would argue more so) than the author’s stated position.
Why Westerns Matter (And Should Again). The man is just about my age, early 30’s. Highly recommended, especially if you love Westerns as much as I do.
Ah, Raz0rfist. His summations on recent SCOTUS rulings are both educational and entertaining.
I concur! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, but I thoroughly enjoy all of his work. Have a wonderful day!
“Before the middle of the 19th century, she writes, guns were common in U.S. society, but were unremarkable tools used by a wide range of people in a growing nation.”
Hey remember when when the left was pushing the narrative that firearms were uncommon in the US until at least the post Civil War period? Seems like they have
Emphasis on ANAL.
I don’t know know enough about the history to know if various frontier towns had strict gun control laws, but even if they did, so what? Various states and towns at the time all over had laws violating all manner of rights and civil liberties. Women’s rights were curtailed, LGBTQ people had no rights, blacks and other non-whites had very limited rights, and the Constitution was understood as only applying to the Federal government and not the states and local governments. The idea of it applying to the states and local governments came about later on, in the early twentieth century.
You do know what started “The Shootout at the OK Corral” don’t you? Wyatt, Virgil, Doc and the boys went to take “The Cowboys” guns from them per city ordinance.
Ordinance #9. Basically – visitors to ‘check’ their guns when arriving in town. No carrying of guns in town. This later became City Ordinance 5.1.1. A recent change – that Ordinance now relates to America’s first “Second Amendment City” – even got reported in the New York Times.
How much enforced? Related in “A Tenderfoot In Tombstone”. When the author’s friend arrived in town, “I want to wear a gun” – “I’ll see the Marshall and get you a permit.”
Also: the author was house-sitting for a judge who was out of town. He had to cross a gully on 4th Street to get to the house. He didn’t just wear his gun when crossing the gulley, he held it in his hand. Deer, javalina, coyotes used that gulley as a passageway, and in the old days, two-legged varmints as well. (The animals still do, one arm of that gulley is my backyard.)
Well men, looks like we need to get a posse together and go after this guy then find a tall tree and a short piece of rope. (sarcasm) ROFL.
When I was around 10 my grandpa showed me a Cottonwood tree that they( not him) had hung a horse theif from.
A few years went by and I was working for a lumber company and they bought the timber, yep, sawed her down.
I kinda figured it aught a been a landmark or something but nobody cared.
A colt pistol back then cost a cowboy a months wages.
There is nothing about the ‘old west’ that has ever inspired me all that much. Although I find steam locomotives and the whole steam-punk everything brass/leather sorta thing interesting if not kind of appealing.
Frankly, the odds are more likely that what we call the old west is just made up Hollywood over the top nonsense.
No computers, Advil, of even much clean water to drink. This is guess work on their part as they do not care to understand. They just know that guns are bad and need to go away. So anytime gun owners can be made fun of, it’s worth doing for them. But the only reason the owner of a Single Action Revolver back then might be seen ‘fanning’ is simply because the did not have the plethora of semi-autos we have now. Otherwise, that never would have been a thing. Just like gun belts that had cartridge holders built in around the back.
Things change and technology advances. From the design and materials used in sky scrapers to advances in weapons. I have no desire to go back to a time when every street was a dusty dirt road covered in horse manure. These people can think whatever they wish. But I prefer living in the now. Personally, I think THEY are the ones stuck in the past. It’s why everything seems to have regressed (by decades in some cases) since Biden took over.
‘Follow the science’…..lol, my big toe!
These people care nothing for science.
Like all good lies, Atlas starts with a reasonable premise, ignores modern context and then proceeds to speak for her opponents.
Just another ho-hum smear
Toxic gun culture is not a Father and his child with the child’s first deer harvested. Toxic gun culture is a 15 year old gang banger with gold teeth holding a stolen Glock sideways with one hand and a wad drug money in the other hand.
Just going by what I’ve read from those who lived in the “Wild West”, very few people ran around wearing gun belts and quick draw holsters. And, from personal experience of working from horseback, such a rig would only get in the way, while not being very secure in keeping a weapon. Most working cowboys would carry their rifle in a saddle scabbard, or their pistol in the saddle bag. When they got into town, they would either leave their horse and saddle at the local stable or take their rifle with them and check it along with their saddle wherever they were staying. Pistols would be in a coat pocket, or just stuck in their belt/waistband.
Even if it was not regulated against, open carry of pistols, then as now, was frowned upon.
In answer to a comment about the OK corral shootout, the earps went to disarm the cowboys because they had been threatening the Earps and had been drinking all night before. Don’t forget the Clanton’s, and their associates were also known rustlers, and thieves. Lastly, that incident was also caused by politics in the county. The old settlers and ranchers were Democrats, and the new Mining and town interests were Republicans. Most of the animosity was left over from the Civil War and Reconstruction. Politics, money and control.
Now, yes, anyone who was smart enough to survive in the “Wild West” did have at least a rifle. As did nearly anyone not living in a big city at the time. And then, as now, most people looked on guns as a tool for certain tasks. Not as some sort of dangerous killing machine.
Yes, I carry nearly all the time. Around the homestead, and in town. for the same reasons I have a fire extinguisher in each vehicle and several around the house, shop, barns, etc. Or have first aid kits and tool boxes on the machinery or in vehicles. I keep the best tool available for whatever need may come up. And like the fire extinguishers and first aid kits, I hope I never need to use that particular tool.
“The old settlers and ranchers were Democrats, and the new Mining and town interests were Republicans.”
In the Pima County, Arizona Territory, 1880 election, one of the polling places was the Clanton ranch. It was estimated that there were 12 to 15 eligible voters in that area. The ballot box was returned with 104 ballots, 1 for the republican candidate for Sheriff and 103 for the democrat. A court challenge, and those ballots were thrown out. That reversed the outcome of the election.
So even back then, Dimocrats were political fraudsters? “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.” And here I thought the whole election fraud thing was more an artifact of the Reconstruction/Post-Reconstruction south, and Daly’s Chicago. Hmm.
Oh, and Tammany Hall, of course. ALSO a Dimocrat fraud organization. I’m sensing a pattern, here.
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